“What Makes a Rainbow?” Ball Pit Sensory Play!

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A Magic Ribbon Book & Ball Pit Sensory Play!

After reading Betty Schwartz’s “What Makes a Rainbow?” on a hot summer’s day; we were excited to set up a refreshing sensory experience where my daughter felt like she was inside of a rainbow! If you’re reading this in cold weather; I’ve got you covered too. Here you will find how to make 2 different ball pits for sensory play! So, let’s get started…

Summary of “What Makes a Rainbow”

What Makes a Rainbow?” by Betty Schwartz and illustrated by Dona Turner; is a sweet book about a little rabbit asking his mother “What makes a rainbow?”. She tells him to go ask his friends.

Throughout the book you follow his journey; color by color. He sees red ladybug who tells him, “RED, you need RED to make a rainbow”, an orange fox who tells him, “ORANGE, you need ORANGE to make a rainbow”, and so on.

"What Makes a Rainbow?" book opened to pop up rainbow page in front of ball pit pool on grass.

It is evident by the illustrations which color is being highlighted. But to make it even more special; this is a magic ribbon book, so every time you turn the page, a ribbon appears at the top in the same color that page features. Its very cool watching the rainbow of ribbons grow until the last page where there is a classic paper pop-up rainbow too! I would recommend this book, especially if you’re working on learning colors.

Ball Pit Sensory Fun?

You might be wondering… “What do you do with it?” or “How is this not just going to be a sensory mess?” There are many ways to answer these two common questions…

First, the most basic answer to “What you could do with Ball Pit Sensory Play?” is… have Fun. Sensory play at its finest is not about “doing” something specific. It is about exploring, feeling, listening, watching, problem solving, creating, etc… This is an open-ended activity. Just as each child has their own unique personality, experience, and preference in play, the outcome of this activity is just as special.

As for the second question, Yes, this is definitely a messy one in terms of balls probably going everywhere! But, I hear you. I’ve been asked that question many times. Therefore, a detailed answer, along with strategies for successful messy sensory play, can be found by reading, “What about the Sensory Mess?”

What We Did with Ball Pit Sensory Play…

We tend to keep the activities as simple as possible around here. We’re not interested in complicated or costly. We are also all about fostering independence. For outdoor ball pit sensory play, my daughter first poured the balls into the pool.

Water coming out of hose spraying balls in pool to make an outdoor ball pit.

Next, she learned how to use the backyard hose properly. This is something we’ve been working on recently and its a functional skill to have. Things we take for granted need to be taught; how to turn it on/off, where to place the hose when first filling up the pool so it doesn’t dance around spraying everything, etc…

Child playing in pool of water and balls ball pit throwing some in the air.

I know its “easier” if we just do it, but I want her to feel confident and learn how to do things on her own so when the time comes (and I already know from my oldest being grown, just how fast it does) she will be independently capable. My mantra is “helping does not mean doing it for them”.

Pool out, add balls, fill with water, done! Yep, that’s really it. 🙂

playyard ball pit

For indoor ball pit sensory play, my daughter poured the balls into her old playyard we saved for this purpose. Then she climbed in and began playing!

I would suggest Ball Pit Sensory Play if you’re looking for a captivating & cool activity to connect with your child.

Materials We Used

  1. “What Makes a Rainbow?” by Betty Schwartz (from the library or buy it here)
    Outdoor Play
  2. Small pool
  3. Water
  4. Balls
    Indoor Play
  5. Playyard
  6. Balls
    Click HERE for Free Printable copy (Email Subscribers Only)

How to Make 2 different Ball Pits for Sensory Play?

Outdoor Play

  1. Position your small pool where you’d like it.
  2. Dump the balls into the pool.
  3. Fill with water to desired height.

Indoor Play

  1. Position your playyard where you’d like it. (I might suggest next to a couch, if you’re okay with your child climbing in and out of it using the couch, otherwise they might need a lift in/out or its great practice for them to master climbing over).
  2. Fill with balls.
    Click HERE for Free Printable copy (Email Subscribers Only)

Wait, There’s More…

Sample of “Communicating & Connecting FREE Bonus Printable.

I believe you can easily strengthen communication skills and foster independence all while playing and connecting with your child. To help you do this; I’ve created a FREE printable for each activity called, “Communicating & Connecting”.

It will give you a list of suggestions I’ve found very helpful as a Mom & as a special education teacher; to help you build lifelong skills. Please don’t feel obligated to do everything on the list (but if you do, you’re a rockstar 😉 ).

As a Thank You for subscribing; this is a special FREEBIE for our Email Subscribers Only. 🙂 Click here if you’ve already subscribed. Otherwise, Sign Up below to get the password & access to our entire FREE Printables Library today! 😉

If you liked this Sensory Storytime activity you might also like…

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